Workshop with Karlyn Holman

I've just returned from a week long workshop with Karlyn Holman in Washburn Wisconsin. This is the 4th year in a row I've attended a workshop with her. Karlyn is such an inspiring person - she's created a wonderful life for herself in the arts. She is a great artist, she teaches in her studio and in workshops all over the world, she has a thriving business in an idyllic small town - she really is a wonder.

The first class I took with Karlyn a few years ago opened my eyes. Her success has inspired me change my life and pursue fine art as a career - something I never really believed was a feasible goal until I met Karlyn. Thank you, Karlyn - you are my inspiration!

Each year, Karlyn has new techniques to teach and new directions to take us. Each year I come away with inspiration to feed my studio time, incorporating the new ideas I've learned into my own work.

Below are my finished pieces derived from the lessons we worked on last week.

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Now showing in Lincoln Park

On Thursday I installed my paintings at the new art gallery opening soon in Lincoln Park. It's called "Fortunate Discoveries", it's located at 1022 W Armitage, and is a similar business model to the Andersonville Galleria. I've signed a lease and I get a wall all to myself.

Fortunate Discoveries' focus is original artwork of all types. I am one of a few 2D artists showing there, and there are jewelers, photographers, sculptors, potters and more. It's a pretty fab place!

All the artists are installing their work this week. I decided to focus on my florals, still lifes and cheery landscapes seeing that spring has made an early appearance here in Chicago. If all goes well Fortunate Discoveries opens doors within a week. Soft opening meet and greet with the neighbors is April 1 and grand opening is Friday night, May 4 from 6-9pm. Hope to see you all there!


Justin's sunset - the Aqua series

Well - I have many talented friends. This painting was inspired by a gorgeous sunset photo taken by my neighbor, Justin. I think it fits nicely into my "Aqua" series.

Justin's photo jumped right out at me because of the drama created by the composition and intense color contrast. His photo was amazing - I hope this painting does it justice!

Pictured above, "Justin's Sunset" - the Aqua series. Measures 32" x 40" framed.


In progress: Shadows and daylilies

Original photo - "Shadows and daylilies"

Original photo - "Shadows and daylilies"

I've started working on a new painting based on a photo I took last week. Even though stopping to take a few photos made me a little late to my class, I think it was worth it. I feel strongly that you have to grab the moments of inspiration when they are presented to you. The light in this scene was too lovely to pass up.

Wet into wet

The image at left is the photo I took, and last night I started working on the underpainting (below). The underpainting is the first layer of paint, and it's where I determine the beginnings of my composition and the pattern of color I want to create. I always do this step "wet into wet" - which means I thoroughly soak my paper first (I use Arches 140lb watercolor paper) and then work into it with very wet watercolor paint. The effect is that the color seeps like crazy, fuzzing out the hard edges and leaving you with a soft layer of color.

Don't forget the seasoning

Once I'm happy with the underpainting and pretty much ready to leave it to dry, lots of times I will add salt into the wet. The salt has the effect of repelling the color that it sits on, so you are left with spots of white around each grain of salt. If you've ever worked in watercolor you know how important it is to preserve your whites as it's very hard (sometimes impossible) to get them back once you've applied paint to the area. The salt helps keep the whites and adds a freshness and unpredictability to the panel since you can't control how the color will repel.

I couldn't help myself and as it was drying I did start putting in a few sharp lines and shadows. This is not technically the underpainting stage but I just couldn't wait. I finally walked away and left the painting to dry overnight - next step is to start laying in more color and depth. Can't wait!

Read more

See the progress on "Shadows and daylilies".


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